Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
September 18, 2019
Thank you, Special Representative Shearer for your informative briefing.
One year ago, South Sudan’s leaders signed the Revitalized Agreement. Since then, the parties have taken some meaningful steps towards lasting peace. Political violence has decreased, and local reconciliation efforts have gained traction.
The decisions of President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar to meet in Juba are also welcome developments. However, to build confidence in the peace process, engagement focused on tangible outcomes is still needed.
Unfortunately, the peace process in South Sudan has focused too much on dialogue between political elites and too little on the suffering of the people of South Sudan. Seven million people face food insecurity. 185,000 seek refuge in “Protection of Civilian” sites. And more than four million are afraid to return to their homes.
While these numbers are shocking, they cannot describe what it must be like to see another harvest come and go without enough food to feed your family. These statistics fail to capture the struggle of moving from camp to camp fleeing outbreaks of violence, only to finally return home and find your house burned to the ground.
Meanwhile, the government and other parties impede the flow of humanitarian assistance, and opposition recruitment has been reported in POC sites. These practices must stop immediately.
The Government of South Sudan and other parties continue to conduct military operations, particularly in the Equatorias, that brutalize their own people. We call on South Sudanese parties who have not signed the Revitalized Agreement to renounce violence and seek political resolution. We call on those who have signed the agreement to engage with such parties in a non-violent manner.
Despite ongoing activity that contradicts the letter and the spirit of the Revitalized Agreement, the United States believes there is still time for the parties to move closer to peace before November’s political deadline.
To that end, we call on South Sudan’s leaders to agree to terms for security arrangements, and to resolve the critical issue of the number and boundaries of states in South Sudan. We also urge them to formally establish the Hybrid Court in partnership with the African Union (AU), whose role in the peace process – along with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) – we support.
The people of South Sudan and key stakeholders have stressed that durable peace is possible, if women play a central role in the peace process. We urge South Sudan’s leaders to recommit themselves to ensuring a full and meaningful role for women in the mechanism of the peace agreement and the transitional government.
We endorse the IGAD Council of Ministers’ August 21 call for an Ordinary Summit in September. We expect that such a summit would address outstanding issues, including Dr. Machar’s freedom of movement and the appointment of a permanent Chairperson for the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission.
We also encourage all relevant parties to continue seeking a sustainable path forward for the protection of civilian sites, as well as for the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of internally displaced persons.
As a final word, I am pleased to share that – in partnership with South Africa – the United States plans to lead a Security Council visit to Juba in the near future. I encourage all of my colleagues on the Council to participate in the visit so we can use the opportunity to personally convey our joint desire to see South Sudan usher a new era of peace and stability. Likewise, the visit will give South Sudan’s leaders the chance to demonstrate to us that they have built the foundation necessary to establish a credible, inclusive, and accountable transitional government.